A new high-tech tape measure that records dimensions directly onto a computer will revolutionise the way the clothing industry measures customers, clothing and materials, its inventors claimed on Tuesday.

Designed for use in both retail and manufacturing environments, the computer-linked tape measure looks and handles the same way as its traditional counterpart.

It operates through the serial port of a computer and is calibrated by regularly taking a know measurement around the tape's outer shank.

The system is already undergoing trials at several made-to-measure tailors and high street retailers as well as major international clothing companies.

The device has been developed by Dimension Link - a new business venture set up by two leading clothing industry consultants, Roz Davies and John London, along with technical expert Dr Richard Leach, and Mike Dyson, of the National Physical Laboratory - the UK's national standards laboratory.

Highlighting the system's benefits, Mr Davies said: "It's the speed and simplicity of this device which is immediately apparent to users.

"Within the clothing industry, the process of measuring - whether you are measuring a person, a piece of cloth or a made-up garment - is currently a laborious one.

"Errors are common, whether they are errors in reading the tape measure or transcribing measurements onto paper.

"Recording data directly onto a computer screen at the touch of a button will eliminate operator error and bring accuracy and objectivity to the measuring process."